Out and About
Festivals and celebrations mark fall in North Carolina
By Amelia Rasmus
Forget the leaves piled up in the yard. You can always rake.
Right now is the time to see what our state has to offer this season!
Who knew you could taste a briny oyster, smash a pumpkin, stuff a scarecrow, watch a sheep-herding dog show his stuff and learn about Native American culture all in one state?
The following list of North Carolina festivals and celebrations is just a sampling of what Tar Heels can take in on a road trip this month:
Wings Over Water
Visitors can discover the diverse habitats and wildlife of the coast with birding and paddle trips as well as educational seminars.
Surf Fishing Tournament
Aspiring surf fishers can register on the 3rd, compete on the 4th and 5th, and pick up their awards at a Cape Hatteras Anglers Club banquet on the 6th.
Beer and Wine Festival
Local and regional breweries and wineries offer samples of their products.
Asheville Film Festival
Last year’s premier sold out. This year, expect more parties, seminars and films that are fun, interesting, emotional and sometimes quirky.
Holly Days Fair
This is Eastern North Carolina’s largest holiday gifts-and-crafts show.
N.C. Cotton Festival
A pig cook-off, arts and crafts, food, two stages of entertainment, rides and a classic-car show make this an area favorite.
N.C. Forest Festival
Duck and goose calling competitions, chain-saw carving, lumberjack competitions and the crowning of the Forest Festival Queen make up this wooded weekend.
Stampede in the Park Rodeo
This 14th annual ropin’ and ridin’ event raises funds for Martin Community College Foundation student scholarships.
Holly Days Festival of Gifts
Fine crafts and homemade goodies comprise this annual holiday crafts show and sale.
Foothills Scottish Highland Games
A salute to all things Scottish, this weekend includes bagpipes, sheep-herding demonstrations, athletic competitions such as lawn bowling, and plenty of plaid.
Sheep Dog Trials
Heeding traditional commands and whistles, border collies show their stuff and earn their keep herding sheep.
N.C. Pecan Harvest Festival
To ring in the annual pecan-crop harvest, this nutty festival showcases local and regional entertainment.
Commercial Holiday Market
Santa, strolling carolers and tasty-treat samples enhance the 15th anniversary of this weekend dedicated to feasting, decorating and entertaining.
Down East Holiday Show
This extravaganza features something for everyone on the gift list.
Crossroads Pumpkin Fest
To celebrate the orange orb of fall, this second-annual event features a pumpkin-pie-eating contest, pumpkin smash-o-rama and a pumpkin-launch contest with catapults.
N.C. Crafts Festival
Gov. Easley proclaimed 2004 the year of craft in the state, and this fair highlights traditional works.
Native American Cultural Festival
The nation’s first people celebrate their heritage with authentic American Indian arts and crafts, world-champion dancers and native food.
Stuffed with displays and entertainment, this event also offers a chance to create your own scarecrow.
Mill Creek Oyster Festival
Steamed, fried and other varieties of this shellfish favorite are served all day, with proceeds benefiting the Mill Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
N.C. Gingerbread Arts and Crafts Festival
22nd annual celebration of handcrafted gifts and homemade goodies.
Carolina Renaissance Festival
A medieval amusement park, nine-stage theater, a 20-acre circus, an arts-and-crafts fair, and a jousting tournament comprise this celebration of a bygone era.
November 6-December 31
Christmas at Biltmore Estate
America’s largest historic home is lavishly decorated with more than 40 trees, 200 wreaths and 1,500 poinsettias.
November 8-January 17
National Gingerbread House Competition
More than 20 intricate creations by artists from all over the country are on display at this 12th annual event.
Southern Christmas Show
Shoppers can browse festive decorations, check out fancy trees, sample holiday goodies and purchase crafts.
Carolina Pottery Festival
More than 90 local and regional potters show and sell traditional and contemporary works at this fourth-annual event.
Sandburg Celebration of Books and Authors
More than 60 authors are on hand to meet their readers, sell their books and participate in a book fair.
Fabulous Fall Feast
Hors d’oeuvres from coastal restaurants and music help raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of Coastal Carolina.
Elizabethan Tymes: A Country Faire
M’Lord and M’Lady can step back 400 years to the Renaissance era for fencing, Elizabethan music and dancing, falconry demonstrations and kids’ games.
Ellenboro Fiddlers’ and Bluegrass Convention
The annual, day-long competition brings together masters of toe-tappin’ music.
African-American Historic Downtown Walking Tour
This 90-minute, 16-block stroll offers a chance to learn about 300 years of African-American history.
Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Arts & Crafts Festival
A weekend of decorating and gift ideas features works by artisans.